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    ‘This Painful Chapter’: performing the law in Bloody Sunday: scenes from the Saville Inquiry

    Monks, Aoife (2013) ‘This Painful Chapter’: performing the law in Bloody Sunday: scenes from the Saville Inquiry. Contemporary Theatre Review 23 (3), pp. 345-356. ISSN 1048-6801.

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    On 29 January 1998, the then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, made a statement to the House of Commons recommending that an inquiry be established to investigate the events of Bloody Sunday, in order to: ‘close this painful chapter once and for all.’ What Blair did not made entirely clear, however, was what exactly the legal process of the Inquiry would succeed in closing. This article argues that the Saville Inquiry was imagined to be the over-writing of an earlier narrative, in which justice would be established palimpsestically through a re-presentation of past events and a correction of earlier representations. I examine this palimpsestic drive through an analysis of Bloody Sunday: Scenes from the Saville Inquiry, at the Tricycle Theatre in London in 2005. This production was a compressed and heavily edited verbatim account of the Inquiry. The article argues that the production was underscored by anxiety about the law's theatrical ability to produce representations and narratives. Despite this disavowal of the theatrical qualities of the law, I suggest that the citational qualities of the tribunal became visible in this performance, revealing the inability of the law to make final statements, and making visible the law's reliance on rhetoric and spectacle and its need for surrogates and proxies to do its work. I conclude by arguing that representations of Bloody Sunday rely on forms of surrogation and proxy performance that gesture to the ongoing multiplicity of representations that surround this event.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Aoife Monks
    Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2013 15:46
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:34


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